Thursday, October 1, 2015

The Ecumenicity of God

When reading the Old Testament we come across a very Jewish understanding of theology, history, prophecy, law and language. This Jewish-centeredness of the Old Testament makes this important collection of books, which for some are 49 for others 39, according to the Tradition one follows, seem irrelevant to our Christian understanding of God. The New Testament, on the other hand, promotes a more ecumenical understanding of God and theology. St Paul writes ‘there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.’ (Galatians 3:28). The life and history of the Church emphasises this belief, by existing globally, geographically and culturally.

However, in some cases we can identify an ecumenical understanding of God in the Old Testament too. Importantly, in Psalm 66 for the Orthodox, Psalm 67 for the West, we see a doxology towards God by all people, by all nations, making us all a part of His people, a part of His praise, it shows that we are all in communion with Him. The same way the Church is inclusive and not exclusive, God makes us all a part of His communion of faithful and saints, not excluding us because we are gentiles and not Jewish. This is the beauty and glory of the Church, which embraces us all in its life in its Body, and therefore in His body.

We read in Psalm 66:

God be merciful to us and bless us, And cause His face to shine upon us, Selah. That Your way may be known on earth, Your salvation among all nations. Let the peoples praise You, O God; Let all the peoples praise You. Oh, let the nations be glad and sing for joy! For You shall judge the people righteously, And govern the nations on earth. Selah. Let the peoples praise You, O God; Let all the peoples praise You. Then the earth shall yield her increase; God, our own God, shall bless us.  God shall bless us, And all the ends of the earth shall fear Him.

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